President Donald Trump, following a year of incredible violence in Chicago, is vowing to "send in the Feds" if the Windy City doesn't get its "horrible carnage" under control.
If Chicago doesn't fix the horrible "carnage" going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1485311140.0
Not long after Trump issued the statement, Rev. Jesse Jackson, a civil rights leader who has been outspoken about ending violence, criticized the president's suggestion with a tweet of his own.
We need a plan, not a threat. We need jobs, not jails. #Chicago— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@Rev Jesse Jackson Sr)1485314699.0
Others on Twitter felt Trump was asserting the imposition of martial law if the violence does not end in Chicago.
We almost made it a whole week before he started talking about declaring martial law in a major city. https://t.co/AeISid2bAf— Matt Scalici (@Matt Scalici)1485312878.0
Who had "Threatens Martial Law" in the Trump's first week pool? Come collect your prize.— Stephen L. Miller (@Stephen L. Miller)1485312749.0
Trump Day 4: Censorship of public scientific data; Threat of martial law; Executive Order on pipeline in which he has financial interest.— Peter Gleick (@Peter Gleick)1485317578.0
According to the Chicago Police Department, 2016 saw the biggest spike in homicides in 60 years. There were 762 murders recorded last year, up from 495 homicides in 2015. In fact, the total number of Chicago homicides was greater than the number in New York City and Los Angeles combined.
Shortly before Trump posted his tweet about the Windy City, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly said on his nightly program, "The O'Reilly Factor," that "gang violence in Chicago is getting worse." He went on to ask if the president plans to address the issue, according to Huffington Post reporter Michael Calderone, who seemed to be suggesting the Trump's comments were prompted by the Fox host's commentary.
Fox's O'Reilly just over an hour ago: “Gang violence in Chicago getting worse. Will President Trump step in and ove… https://t.co/ALoRyVOcQ1— Michael Calderone (@Michael Calderone)1485311796.0
Here was the graphic on The O'Reilly Factor just over an hour before Trump started tweeting Chicago crime statistic… https://t.co/hEirGsjOqy— Michael Calderone (@Michael Calderone)1485311940.0
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a Democrat, responded to the president Tuesday night, saying the federal government can help by passing more gun control laws, holding criminals accountable and sending aid for summer work programs to keep Chicago's youth off the streets.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson issued a statement on Trump's tweet, too:
As the Mayor said just a few hours ago, the Chicago Police Department is more than willing to work with the federal government to build on our partnerships with DOJ, FBI, DEA and ATF and boost federal prosecution rates for gun crimes in Chicago.
Of course, as The Week notes, it is important to remember the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which was signed into law by President Rutherford B. Hayes and limits the powers of the federal government in using federal forces to enforce domestic policy, bars Trump from deploying the National Guard to Chicago.
In any event, following Chicago's deadliest month, Illinois' Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who briefly entertained the idea of bringing in the National Guard and actually discussed it with law enforcement and community leaders, ultimately rejected the proposal, saying in August that "no thoughtful leader thinks that's a good idea or would really provide a solution."